To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

The resurgence of disco and the return of the 1950s frock dress are proof enough that what goes around comes around, but in these oh-so-trendy times who would think vintage tattoos depicting shapely ladies, dragons, and skull and crossbones would make a comeback?

"Like anything else that's a fad or a fashion, it all comes back," says Jack Rudy, vice president of the National Tattoo Assn., which is hosting its annual convention in Los Angeles this month. "Only now we're seeing new versions of old designs."

If you want proof that some of the standbys are hip before you tattoo "I Love Elvis" across your biceps, those with chic skin art will be on display at the convention's contest for best tattoo, most realistic and best big tattoo.

Why tattoo?

"In our ever-increasingly dehumanizing society, there is a need to reestablish the individual, to externalize our sense of self, to mark passages in time, to affirm that we, as people, have the right to choose our own forms of self-expression and to set our own pace to the cadence of tattoo," explains the association.

The contests will follow two days of demonstrations and seminars on such topics as "The Power of Placement" and "Polynesian Body Design." There will also be a seminar on tattoo trends that will probably become en vogue the day your new tattoo goes out.

The National Tattoo Convention will be held March 12-15 at the Airport Marriott Hotel, 5855 W. Century Blvd.

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